One year into the Alabama Dept. of Transportation’s $420-million program to replace aging bridges carrying Interstates 59 and 20 through downtown Birmingham, city officials want to know if the route should be relocated elsewhere. A $3-million feasibility study will explore whether long-term traffic projections warrant the eventual rerouting of I-59/20 to a new location. Selection of a consultant to perform the study will take place once the city and state finalize an agreement. According to ALDOT, I-59/20’s nearly half-century-old elevated portions carry more than 160,000 vehicles a day, twice their design capacity. Yet, the four-year replacement program, begun in 2015, has been heavily criticized by citizen groups that claim the structures perpetuate a barrier that has isolated Birmingham’s northern neighborhoods from economic development. A lawsuit attempting to block the project was filed in federal court in October 2015. The new relocation feasibility study is seen as an effort to appease the I-59/20 project’s opponents while allowing construction to continue. Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie is wrapping up the project’s $7.4- million first phase, which includes improvements to I-20/59’s interchange with I-65 in preparation for the $208.6-million second phase, now being performed by Granite Construction Co.
Alabama To Study Relocating Major Bridge Replacement Job
October 5, 2016